HTF REVIEW: Here's Lucy: Best Loved Episodes

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Michael Elliott, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Here’s Lucy: Best Loved Episodes





    Studio: Shout! Factory
    Year: 2000
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 12+ Hrs.
    Aspect Ratio: Standard (4:3)
    Audio: Dolby Digital Mono
    Subtitles: None
    Retail Price: $34.98





    Here’s Lucy first hit CBS in September of 1968 and ended six years later after 144 total episodes. On August 17th, Shout Factory with the help of Lucy’s Estate bring us this four disc collection featuring 24-episodes, which were selected by Lucie and Desi, Jr. as being their personal favorites. Each show has been digitally remastered and feature fourteen commentary tracks as well as a lot of other extras being presented here for the first time.

    Disc 1

    Lucy Meets the Burtons---Air Date: 9/14/70 This here was one of the highest rated episodes and features Richard Burton escaping a large group of fans only to find himself bumping into Lucy who mistakes him for a plumber. Things take a turn for the worse when Lucy discovers a diamond ring, which belongs to Elizabeth Taylor who shows up to collect.

    Lucy and Johnny Carson---Air Date: 12/1/69 Lucy appears on the Johnny Carson Show and before long she’s driving the host and Ed McMahon crazy.

    Lucy and Carol Burnett---Air Date: 1/27/69 A mostly musical show with Lucy and Carol getting in a beauty contest where they have to show off their voices in order to win.

    Lucy and Lawrence Welk---Air Date: 1/19/70 Lucy lets her mouth get her into trouble in this episode when she claim’s to know Lawrence Welk. When Viv demands to meet him Lucy must find a way to get to the singer.

    Lucy the Fixer---Air Date: 1/6/69 Lucy goes all slapstick in this episode where she is ordered to clean a house on Saturday and by the time it’s over there isn’t too much left standing.

    Lucy Visits Jack Benny---Air Date: 9/30/68 Lucy takes her family to the mansion of Jack Benny for a peaceful vacation but things soon get out of hand as various guests start popping up including Jack Benny as well as Jackie Gleason. Also of interest is that the writers of this episode would soon move onto All in the Family.

    Disc 2

    Lucy and Sammy Davis, Jr.---Air Date: 9/28/70 In this episode Sammy Davis, Jr. is tired of having the door slammed in his face during auditions and threatens Lucy with a lawsuit.

    Lucy and Miss Shelley Winters---Air Date: 10/14/68 Shelley Winters is having a weight problem so Lucy moves in with her for a crash diet that causes more problems than weight loss.

    Lucy and the Generation Gap---Air Date: 12/8/69 A silly episode about a play where the generation gap is tried to be brought together. A few comedy touches and some fun music.

    Lucy the Crusader---Air Date: 10/12/70 Lucy buys a worthless vacuum cleaner and after it breaks she demands it be replaced and go up against Charles Nelson Reilly.

    Lucy and the Little Old Lady---Air Date: 1/3/72 In this episode Lucy meets the sweetest old lady (Helen Hayes) but what she doesn’t know is that this old lady is a con woman.

    Lucy and Donny Osmond---Air Date: 11/20/72 This show centers around the guest appearances of Donny Osmond and Eve Plum. Donny falls in love with Carter but that’s not the start of it.

    Disc 3

    Lucy Sells Craig to Wayne Newton---Air Date: 11/25/68 Lucy gets a crush on singer Wayne Newton and will stop at nothing to get Craig in his band.

    Lucy the Matchmaker---Air Date: 12/16/68 Old Uncle Harry needs a woman so Lucy gets the idea of a computer match game. This was also the first appearance by Vivian Vance.

    Lucy and Ann-Margret---Air Date: 2/2/70 Desi rights a new song and finds out that Ann-Margret wants to record it with him. This here was one of the most popular episodes according to the introduction.

    Lucy and the Used Car Dealer---Air Date: 11/17/69 Lucie and Desi find a wonderful used car but when it breaks down it’s up to Lucy to deal with the seller played by Milton Berle.

    Lucy the Skydiver---Air Date: 9/21/70 After the kids won’t give up their dangerous hobbies, Lucy threatens to take up skydiving with some slapstick laughs.

    Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea---Air Date: 11/22/71 Lucy accidentally finds the purse of Ginger Rogers so she invites her over for some tea.

    Disc 4

    Lucy and Flip Go Legit---Air Date: 9/12/71 The first episode from Season 4 has Flip Wilson guest starring as the group puts on a play of Gone with the Wind.

    Lucy Joins the Air Force Academy Pt. 1---Air Date: 9/22/69 The first episode from Season 2 has Uncle Harry taking Lucy and the kids on a trip from Colorado to California but when Lucy takes over the driving she starts the trouble.

    Lucy Joins the Air Force Academy Pt. 2---Air Date: 9/29/69 The ending to the previous episode has Lucy starting more trouble as she tries to get Craig into the Academy.

    Lucy and Jack Benny’s Biography---Air Date: 11/23/70 Lucie is hired by Jack Benny to be his secretary while he writes his biography. Also stars George Burns.

    Lucy is Really in a Pickle---Air Date: 1/1/73 Uncle Harry gets Lucy the job playing a pickle in a commercial but when it’s time to film Lucy can’t be found. She running late to the studio and gets herself into all sorts of trouble.

    With Viv As a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy---Air Date: 2/14/72 Vivian Vance once again guest stars in her final episode in the series. Here she ends up replacing Lucy in the office, which sets off some sparks.


    VIDEO---The shows are presented Standard (4:3), which is of course the way they were meant to be seen. I’ve never seen the show before but I seriously doubt these have ever looked better. The color depth and detail to each of the episodes are quite remarkable since they are free of any dirt, scratches or speckles. I’m sure many will be quite shocked at how well these things look and even more shocked when they see how really red Lucy’s hair is. That’s the one thing that really caught my attention was her bright hair and how remarkable the color detail was in this collection. Flesh tones are also very nice and accurate. There are a few clips from the show in the extra section that weren’t remastered and that’s how I did the comparison of how they have looked and what these episodes look like now. Another great detail is in the opening credits when the Lucy doll is dancing to a blue curtain. This dark blue once again jumps off the screen with its clarity and vivid detail.

    AUDIO---The Dolby Digital Mono sound is crystal clear without any hiss, pops or scratches. The track is somewhat low but it appears to have been recorded this way and doesn’t go against the DVD. Dialogue is also crystal clear and upfront making everything very easy to hear. The opening introduction of the show also sounds remarkably well and packs a nice little punch considering this is a Mono track to a very old series. I guess the one negative thing to this incredibly clean track is the laugh track they used on the film also sounding good because it is quite annoying.

    EXTRAS---Shout! Factory has gone all out and delivered some wonderful special features that are going to add hours of viewing pleasure. Everything from outtakes to rehearsal footage is included here as well as some very fun commentaries. Each disc has its own amount of extras, which can be accessed from the Extras menu or by going to each episode where you get another screen, which you can select to watch the episode or its extras.

    Disc 1:

    Lucy’s Blooper Reel #1: This here runs just over ten minutes and also features an introduction explaining that most of these reels where made to show at various Christmas parties. Most of the bloopers here are from mixed up lines but the entire thing is worth watching and contains some very funny moments. The quality isn’t the greatest but it’s still very watchable.

    Lucy Meets the Burtons Bonus Features: This here is broken down into several categories and should please fans very much. I’m not sure how much of this footage has been seen previously but there’s a lot of nice stuff here. Up first is some rehearsal footage that runs just over seven minutes and features a lot of behind the scenes footage of the cast rehearsing for work. It’s interesting to see the actors out of character and trying to make these scenes come to life. Up next is a behind the scenes section, which runs just over six minutes and features pretty much the same type of stuff from the previous featurette. We get Elizabeth Taylor’s scene shown through a different angle as well as some post filming stuff. Up next is an alternate ending, which was originally cut by CBS because Elizabeth Taylor said “Good-night Lucy” but the studio had another show coming on. Quality is very good here, although it doesn’t look quite as good as the episode itself. Up next is a script from the opening scene, which was never used. You’ll probably have to use your zoom button to actually read the script but it’s a nice addition anyways.

    Johnny Carson Rehearsal Footage: This here runs just over three minutes but doesn’t feature anything too interesting. It’s nice to have this as a historical type thing but there’s not too much comedy or interest going on here. The black and white image is rather washed out.

    Jack Benny’s Carnival Nights: Originally broadcasted March 20, 1968 this is a full episode of Benny’s show, which features guest shots with Ball and Johnny Carson. This episode also features an interesting commentary with Lucie and Desi, Jr.


    Disc 2

    Lucie’s Pepsodent Commercial: Lucie tries selling off her white teeth in this short commercial. The video quality isn’t the greatest due to several speckles and drained color.

    CBS Promo #1: The best part of this promo is the introduction where Lucie tells us they didn’t have a copy, nor did CBS have a copy of this. They actually found this promo on Ebay and that’s why they were able to include it here.

    Lucy and Sammy Davis, Jr. Bonus Features: Up first is some rehearsal footage, which runs just under five minutes. There’s a funny goof with Davis at the start of things as well as some other good stuff. You can view this rehearsal footage on its own or with a commentary with Lucie and Desi, Jr. Up next is a section called Buddy Hackett Rehearsal Footage. According to the introduction this scene was cut and is now lost but this rehearsal footage was found. This here runs just over one minute. Gary Morton’s Audience Warm-Up is pretty entertaining and gives you an idea of what it was like to be at an actual taping. This here runs just over thirteen minutes and is a very nice addition. Next we get some Sammy Davis bloopers, which are a lot of fun due to the mistakes from the actor. Lucy also has some nice moments picking on Sammy that makes this a must watch. Finally we get a section where Lucy introduces the cast members to the audience. Sammy Davis is also included in this. The segment runs just under one minute.


    Disc 3

    Luci’s Blooper Reel #2: Another blooper reel, which was created for those Christmas parties. Most of this footage is in rough shape but it’s still highly watchable. There are some very funny outtakes here as well as a few bloopers that actually made it into the broadcast. This reel last just over seven minutes.

    CBS Promo #2 Here’s another CBS promo, which CBS didn’t own and the family didn’t own. Whoever sold these on Ebay should be happy to know that everyone will have a copy now (and I hope he got some nice money for these rare items).

    Lucy and Ann-Margret Bonus Features: Ann-Margret: From Hollywood With Love, is Ann-Margret’s show, which originally broadcasted on December 6, 1969 and featured Ball as guest star. This is the complete episode and features an introduction as well as a commentary track with Lucie and Desi, Jr. The show starts off in front of Paramount studios, which was rather nice to see.

    Lucy the Skydiver Rehearsal Footage: A documentary crew was on the set while this was being filmed but the documentary was never made but here’s some footage that is played with an audio commentary with Lucie.

    Commentary With Wayne Newton & Desi, Jr.: This here is on the episode with Wayne Newton of course. The two tell some very good stories and Newton seems to be having a blast with his stories.


    Disc 4

    Lucie and Desi, Jr. as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo at the Thalians Ball: This is the only time the children played their parents and was done for the Thalians Mental Health Center. The hospital was honoring Lucy and this runs just over four minutes in length. The quality is a bit faded but still better looking than should be expected. An optional commentary is also available with this feature that helps explain what was going on.

    Lucy and Jack Benny’s Biography Bonus Features: Up first is some rehearsal footage, which runs just over ten minutes and features Lucy, Jack and Burns as they mess around. Nothing too interesting here but it’s still nice to have. Then we get a section of Benny bloopers, which runs just under two minutes. Again, nothing too funny but these are nice to have anyways.

    TV Syndication Sales Tape: Here’s a presentation tape that was prepared by Lucy when the show first went into syndication. This here runs for ten minutes and appears to be a great hits package with clips from various shows and Lucy talking over a few of them trying to sell them.

    Sales Tape Bloopers with Bob Hope: This here runs just over three minutes and is a very fun watch. Nothing too bad happens but whenever you can get these two together it’s certainly worth watching.


    Commentary Tracks: Lucie and Desi, Jr. have audio commentary tracks on the following episodes:

    Lucy Meets the Burtons
    Lucy and Carol Burnett
    Lucy the Fixer
    Lucy and the Generation Gap
    Lucy and Donny Osmond
    Lucy Sells Craig to Wayne Newton
    Lucy and Ann-Margret
    Lucy Joins the Air Force Academy Pt. 1
    Lucy Joins the Air Force Academy Pt. 2
    Lucy is Really in a Pickle
    With Viv as a Friend, Who Needs an Enemy

    The commentary tracks are a lot of fun and I’m quite certain fans of the show are going to have a blast with these. The two are constantly talking throughout and give some wonderful detail on what it was like to be on the show. The two have a very good memory of all the episodes and tell some wonderful behind the scenes stories as well as some other stuff that isn’t talked about often. There are very few dry moments and the two work very well with one another.

    Each episode in the collection also features a short audio introduction by the kids.

    OVERALL---I must admit that I had never heard of this show before it arrived on my doorstep and I must admit I’ve only seen a few episodes of I Love Lucy. After going through this set I can’t help but to have fallen in love with the thing and the wonderful presentation by Shout! Factory. The video quality really caught me off guards considering some of the poor transfers we’ve seen from the like of Columbia and others. The detail in the transfers clearly show a lot of work was done here and the sound is very nice as well.

    The extras alone are worth double the retail price on this set and I can’t imagine any fan of the show being unhappy. I had a wonderful time going through the extras and I had never even heard of this show until a few days ago. I’m sure some will be upset that Season Set’s weren’t released but I’m sure these issues will die down after fans view what has been given them here.

    Since I had never seen the show previously, I’d also recommend this as a blind buy.


    Release Date: August 17, 2004
     
  2. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't wait!
     
  3. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    "Jack Benny’s Carnival Nights: Originally broadcasted March 20, 1968 this is a full episode of Benny’s show, which features guest shots with Ball and Johnny Carson. This episode also features an interesting commentary with Lucie and Desi, Jr."

    This was originally an hour long Benny special that aired three years after the end of his regular series and also featured cameos by Don Drysdale and others. Is the running time for this an hour or the length an hour show would be with commercials edited? If so, then I may have to buy this set just for this program alone!
     
  4. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    I loved "Here's Lucy" when I was a kid, but I haven't see it since it originally aired! I think I'm going to have to buy this, if for nothing more than the commentaries from her children. Those must be priceless.

    But I have heard from more than once source that Lucy was difficult to work with in her later years, rather temperamental. Mary Jane Croft said this in a profile of Lucy I saw on Lifetime, I think.

    And a few years ago, Elizabeth Taylor, when asked how she enjoyed working with Lucy on the show, said, "Uh...I didn't," and went on to say how pushy and bossy she found Lucy, how she pretty much treated them like they were some novices sent over from Central Casting.
     
  5. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    Well, Michael, I have to say you've sold me on this set. I'm a big fan of I LOVE LUCY but haven't really considered any of the other Lucy shows until now.

    Would someone please give me a brief rundown of all those Lucy series that followed after I LOVE LUCY? I know there were a few of them....
     
  6. Ron Lee Green

    Ron Lee Green Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the informative review. I hope it sells well because they really put a lot of work into it. I never heard of a tv show on dvd with so many extras--at least one that I was interested in. And I thought Land of the Lost was great!

    Joe, here is the rundown:

    I Love Lucy '51-'57
    The Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz Show '57-'60
    The Lucy Show '62-'68
    Here's Lucy '68-'74
    Life With Lucy '86
     
  7. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Eric, I'll check on that info for you in a couple hours. I'll post back here about the running time.

    If anyone else has any questions please let me know. As I said, I had never heard of this show until I got the set on Saturday so I'm not sure if I need to post more information about episodes, running time and so on.

    I actually wished I didn't like the thing because I'm going to have to start buying I LOVE LUCY from Paramount. [​IMG]
     
  8. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Eric, it's just the one segment with Ball. It runs just over six minutes.
     
  9. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    Okay. Not enough to justify purchase for me alas since I've got the whole special on VHS (albeit grainy quality).
     
  10. Doug^Ch

    Doug^Ch Second Unit

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    Fantastic Review. You made me take notice of and order a title that would have ordinarily just passed me by.

    Thanks
     
  11. BarryR

    BarryR Supporting Actor

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    Lawrence Welk.....singer?????????

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Right.
    Welk was no singer...
    he was a bandleader...um...of sorts.
    LOL.

    This is the Lucy series
    that was in first run when
    i was a little boy,
    so i remember seeing it...
    I especially
    remember the Lucy puppet from the opening
    credits...
    but,
    in the areas i have live it has
    not been rerun.
    I think that Lucie Arnaz
    and Desi jr
    have treated their parent's
    television legacy with great reverence,
    and if they have a hand in it,
    i am assuming it will be a first class release.
     
  13. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    LUCY FANS TAKE NOTE!
    This is fantastic.

    I picked this up on Tues,
    and I cannot say enough good things about it.

    The entire thing is first rate...
    from the menus, to the packaging,
    to the content.

    I've never seen any of Lucy's series
    look and sound so good.

    No, the specials mentioned in the review (ANN MARGRET
    and JACK BENNY) are not the complete specials,
    just Lucy's segments in them.

    Carol Burnett's commentary on her episode
    is a gem.

    Cheers to SHOUT FACTORY for this first class release.
     
  14. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    I love how she began it... "I don't even remember doing this."

    Classic Carol.

    Lucy's bits, when the kids get off screen, are hilarious and the show's decent. The "show" is more like a sketch comedy program than an actual, coherent narrative, but that doesn't stop it's comedy.

    DVDTown.com review of the Here's Lucy set
     
  15. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't find this anywhere! I've been to Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's...no luck [​IMG]
     
  16. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    same here.
    i have vauge memeories of the sets from one Lucy show, but i think it was the one previous to this one- but i do remember seeing the puppet.

    i have to agree with all the laudatory comments on this set.
    i'm not a very big Lucy fan, and if this had just been an 'episode dump' release, i probably would have passed it by, but the quantity and quality of the extras amde me sit up and take notice, and i found it on sale at Borders so i picked it up.
    only have watched a few minutes from the Burton ep so far, but this looks to be an Excellant release.
    its a kick to see these faces again (what with that tan, Dick?!)

    yet another package this year, that i was not asking for, nor anticipating, or even particularly interested in, but one that looks to be suprisingly entertaining and satisfying.

    Shout is doing a hell of a job on these tv dvds- Kudos all around.
     
  17. Lee Bombard

    Lee Bombard Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't find this anywhere! I've been to Best Buy, Circuit City and Fry's...no luck [​IMG]
     
  18. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    I work for a major retail chain,
    and I had to order it to our store...

    Not sure why this is hard to find on the shelf,
    but it is readily available for order online.
     
  19. John KB

    John KB Second Unit

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    This set is absolutely great. The transfers look great, the extras...wow!...bloopers, rehearsal footage, behind the scenes, commentaries...makes many tv dvd sets look like crap. If only more tv shows were treated like this.

    Of course another great example of how tv shows should be treated is the Dick Van Dyke Show
     

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